Will the Tokyo Olympics Increase Japan’s Soft Power?

July 15, 2021

Sport is often a great source of soft power, or the ability to shape the preferences of others by appeal instead of coercion or monetary incentives. The Olympic Games are a powerful tool for this type of attraction. Awarded to Germany before the Nazis came to power, the 1936 Berlin Olympics helped...

The Cultural Power of Anitta in Bolsonaro’s Brazil

June 25, 2021

Anitta is turning her back on Brazil — and for a good reason. One of the most successful Brazilian singers of the 21st century, she alone gathered over 370,000 people in just one carnival block in Rio early last year. But now she wants millions more, and from all over the world. In late...

Bollywood’s Soft Power Is Not Enough for the Oscars

April 20, 2021

In 2019, India produced over 1,800 movies, making it the world’s largest film industry in terms of numbers; this dwarfs the 792 produced in both the US and Canada combined. Bollywood, as Mumbai’s movie industry is known, distributes its films around the world and is particularly popular in...

Can Chinawood Win Soft Power for Beijing?

February 19, 2021

With movie theaters closed all over the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hollywood studios had little reason for celebration over the past year. In business for over a century, Universal Pictures (founded in 1912), Paramount (1912), Warner Bros. (1923), Walt Disney (1923) and Columbia Pictures...

Foreign-Language Entertainment Is Having Its Soft-Power Moment

December 18, 2020

Since the first Academy Awards ceremony in 1929, non-English films from all over the world used to compete for a nomination in one single category, best foreign film, as all the other Oscars traditionally went to American and, sometimes, British productions. But in 2019, Netflix’s...

Latin Music Is Seducing the World All Over Again

July 29, 2020

When Luis Fonsi launched his ninth album, “Vida,” in January 2017, he probably didn’t imagine that its main song, “Despacito,” featuring Daddy Yankee, would become an international sensation. The track broke seven Guinness records, among which were the most weeks at the top of...